Storm Emily wreaks havoc

December 23, 2013

Newry and Mourne became one of the worst affected areas of last week’s Storm Emily, which roared across Northern Ireland from last Wednesday afternoon.

Severe gale force winds exceeding 80mph battered parts of the district  leaving many without electricity.  NIE had restored power to 10,000 customers throughout Northern Ireland in the aftermath of the storm.

Several reports of falling trees added to the chaos locally with many roads being blocked and closed – causing major traffic disruption.

Police issued a warning for drivers to exercise extreme caution due to the adverse weather conditions.

O’Neill avenue in the city was one of the worst hit areas with a chimney brought down by the gale force winds as well as a fallen tree which demoilished railings on the housing estate.  At the nearby St.Mary’s High School, ralings were tore down as the storm raged throughout Wednesday night.

The Chapel Hill area also remained closed on Thursday morning due to a fallen tree.

Newry councillor Brendan Curran described the situation as horrendous while SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt said: “It just seems that the wind has come up from the Warrenpoint direction and taken a few Christmas trees down and cut power supplies.”

Warrenpoint’s Whistledown Hotel lost its 30ft Christmas tree as the storm broke over the coastal town. The hotel and restaurant managed to turn the fiasco into a festive Facebook competition though by offering a trailer load of logs to the person who correctly guessed the exact time the tree was swept away!

With the weather more settled towards the end of last week, forecasters warned of further stormy conditions over the Christmas period, with temperatures  dipping and torrential rain predicted.